It is one of the jewels in the crown of the noble families of radicchio salads from Veneto. Tasty, healthy and versatile in the kitchen, it has been appointed the European PGI trademark since 2008.
There is a gem that stands out in the treasure chest of types of radicchio of Veneto: it is the Verona radicchio, which has been appointed by the European Union the PGI, Protected Geographical Indication, trademark in 2008. Also called “red gold”, it stands out for its leaves crunchiness, the intense red colour and a slightly bitter flavour. Its organoleptic characteristics make it a widely used ingredient, from starters to desserts, both raw and cooked. More than half of the Italian radicchio production takes place in the provinces of the Veneto region and some of the most famous varieties are named after some of the cities of the Veneto region. Radicchio of Verona seems to be associated with radicchio of Treviso, with the same vivid red colour, white veins and entire margin.
Organoleptic properties – Rich in minerals, the red radicchio is a cure-all wholesome food: it mainly contains potassium, but also phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron, sodium, copper and manganese. Furthermore, it is rich in vitamins B, C, E and K. Thanks to the high content of water and to the presence of fibres and sour components it helps digestion and facilitates intestinal functioning with renowned depurative properties. Anthocyanins, on the other hand, confer properties of prevention of cardiovascular diseases, while tryptophan produces important benefits to the nervous system and fights sleep disorders. According to the most recent studies, red radicchio contains a high number of antioxidants that slow down the aging process, prevent certain types of cancer, especially on the intestinal level, and efficiently fight the action of free radicals. Radicchio makes the skin look fresher and younger and it is instrumental in purifying the liver, by stimulating the production of bile. Thanks to the abundant fibre content, it eliminates the sugar in the blood and counteracts Type-2 diabetes with excellent results. Furthermore, red radicchio contains inulin, a substance that helps the organism in regulating the level of sugar in the blood. Bones also benefit from the substances that radicchio contains: the presence of calcium and iron helps the metabolism making the bones stronger, while vitamin K, a mineral that stimulates the formation and the thickness of bones, contributes in making them healthy.
Production – The area of farming is in the southern part of the Veneto region and the organoleptic peculiarities are strongly connected to the area of production, characterized by a continental climate with very hot and humid summers and foggy and freezing winters. It is mostly the low temperatures of wintertime that influence the crunchiness and the intense red colour of the leaves. In addition to this, there is the sandy, deep, well-drained, fresh soil, rich in organic substances and characterized by good fertility, which is typical of this area. The fertilization of the Radicchio of Verona farming can be done both by direct planting in the fields or by transplantation of the seedlings from the plant nursery. Radicchio of Verona GPI can be an “early” or “late” grower. The early grower is sown in July, the late type between the end of July and mid-August. In case of transplantation further two weeks are needed. The early-growing radicchio is harvested from the beginning of October and can weigh between 150 and 350 grams, with a piece of root that cannot exceed 4cm. The late-growing radicchio weighs slightly less, from 100 to 300 grams.